RPS S-1 – Radiation Protection Standard Summary: In February 2021 ARPANSA published the Standard for “Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 kHz to 300 GHz” (Rev. 1) (2021). This supersedes Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz” Radio Protection standard 3 (RPS3) and is in effect immediately.

Sources of radiation

There are many types radiation that we commonly encounter on a daily basis. These sources of radiation may include:

  • From the sun radiation of ultraviolet radiation or UVR exposure
  • Power lines radiation of extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (EMF)
  • Smart meters radiation of radio waves or low-level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME)
  • Mobile phones and base station radiation of low-level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME)
  • Radioactive materials and waste
  • Radon radiation through gas inhalation

What is a safe level or limit of radiation?

Similar to sun ultraviolet exposure there has been many studies and investigations on what the effects of radiofrequency may have on us. As such for many years there have been specified limits for what is regarded as an acceptable level of radiofrequency energy emitted. These limits and advisory notes are published in compliance regions (CE, FCC, RCM & RSM, ISED etc) and also vary slightly from region to region. The variations may be with respect to the limits, exemptions and methods to quantify the radiation source.

Australian regulation of radio-frequency exposure and limits.

For electrical product compliance in Australia that uses electromagnetic energy (EME) such as RF transmitters (4G, 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc), are required to comply with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regulations. The ACMA rules that apply include the radiocommunications Act and the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation-Human Exposure) Standard 2014. This rule is legislation and therefore is mandated under Australian law and adopted by New Zealand to comply with their Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) requirements.

Within electromagnetic radiation human exposure standard references, the basic restrictions of EME. These include standards published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and also AS/NZS 2772.2.

New EME standard for Australia and New Zealand, RPS S-1, 2020

The referenced ARPANSA standard prior to February 2021 was the “Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz” i.e., the Radio Protection standard 3 or RPS3. In February 2021 ARPANSA published the “Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 kHz to 300 GHz” (Rev. 1) (2021), which supersedes ARPANSA RPS3.

The exposure limits set in the updated ARPANSA Standard (RPS S-1, 2020) are similar to those in the 2002 standard (RPS3, 2002) with some refinements. The main update from RPS 3 to RPS-1, 2020 is in alignment with International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP, 2020) guidelines, and the redundancy of sections that are covered in other referenced documents are now removed such as AS/NZS 2772.2. RPS S-1, 2020 covers frequency in the range of 100kHz to 300GHz, frequencies below 100 kHz are covered by ICNIRP standards meaning significant changes to E (Electric) and H (magnetic) field limits. Another significant change is the averaging time for whole-body reference levels (30 minutes) to better match the time taken for body core temperature to rise. Previously in ARPANSA RPS 3, this average time was 6 minutes (100 kHz-10 GHz) and above 10GHz was 9.6 × 104 / f1.05 min.

For many low power mobile products such as Bluetooth, BLE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, 433MHz transmitters please refer to special EME exemptions from specific absorption rate (SAR) testing in the RPS S-1 – Radiation Protection Standard Advisory Note: Compliance of mobile or portable transmitting equipment (100 kHz to 300 GHz).

EMC Technologies experts in RCM EME compliance for Australia and New Zealand

For full details of the changes and also to download the latest ARPANSA public (free) standards, guidelines and advisory notes please visit the ARPANSA website.

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